The Hood and Liripipe c.1100- onwards
Hoods, in accounts have always appeared as 'aumuces' and have been worn for nearly 1000 years,
maybe more if you want to consider the Romans. The Vikings had a sort of hood/cape;
the Shetland people had very deep Hoods with massive fringes on the bottom of the fabric
to keep their arms and chest warm. The early Scottish had their plaid which doubled up as a hood in bad weather.
But the hoods that we started to know began to be cut as Hoods in the medieval period during c.1100-1154.
Both sexes of Royals, Nobles, Merchants, men at arms, Archers, children,
peasants and prostitutes wore them alike only differing in embellishment, cut, colour and quality of cloth.
By Richard I's reign, the hood was established and a small tail was beginning to be
noticed at the back point of the hood. When Edward I came to the throne,
the Hood and the Liripipe with its shoulder cape was very fashionable and sometimes
the long hanging Liripipe would be bound and wrapped about the throat as a scarf on colder days,
or if a man was working the Liripipe would be bound about his forehead like a turban, with the hood up.
By Edward II's reign c.1307 -1327 the Hood and Liripipe were still worn in its usual manner,
but sometimes (by a bored and foppish Dandy of court it is said) was turned onto its side and worn as a new hat,
a Chaperon. Many accounts of hoods (aumuces) for low and high status occur during
the period of Edward III in England and in France.
In the Luttrel Psalter it has images showing hoods for the more 'average folk'
and it shows a boy stealing fruit from a tree. He has climbed the tree and turned his hood back
to front while still wearing it and loaded the fruit into his hood like a pouch or bag hanging around his neck.
Often the Liripipe would have bells sewn to the bottom of it.
This was because the wearer would hide their coins in their liripipes,
but the noise would attract thieves - there are accounts of the
liripipe being cut off completely, so bells would be attached to distract from the noise of the coins.
Also "No common woman should go to market or without a hood"
and "if you should come across a lady wearing 'a hood
from brown scarlet studded with 154 stars of pearls and trimmed with gold,
each star being crafted out of seven large pearls with an especially large one at the
top of each star' have no doubt: she is a queen." Queen Philippa, on the morning of her
Coronation wore a 'hood of fur' and for lunch changed and turned up wearing a
completely different set of garments and with it 'wore a hood of miniver'.
Fashion was changing rapidly. The author of the Brut Chronicle points out unhappily as he
blames the 'Hainaulters in Queen Philippa's entourage'
"Courtiers have dangling from their hoods trailing pieces of cloth" and "Nor the dagges of
their clothing, nor the lengthening of their hoods." In c.1370 another writer wrote of a
style of hood which seems to originate in England which spread throughout
the continent with an extra-long liripipe which was at time knotted and "to have it
hanging down your back like a normal hood in c.1360 is simply passť".
In one writ, March c.1334 Edward III ordered for himself and his courtiers
King Edward's games at court, 13th April 1338 had him wearing a hood made from
black cloth which was "decorated on one edge with images of tigers holding court
made from pearls and embossed with silver and gold, and decorated on another edge
with an image of a castle made of pearls with a mounted man riding towards the castle
on a horse made of pearls, with trees of pearls and gold between each tiger, and a field
and a trefoil of large pearls embroidered well in from the edge". x389 large pearls,
x3 enormous pearls and 5oz of small pearls were used in making it!
x31 striped blue surcotes with hoods
x3 hoods of scarlet with peacocks, snails and other beasts worked with gold, silver and other colours, all encircled in gold
x7 brown scarlet hoods studded with 1000 white pearls around the edge
x12 hoods lined in red scarlet and adorned with red roses
a hood of red velvet for the Earl of Chester, the Kings son, being embroidered in pearls.
The Archbishop of Canterbury in c.1342 complained that the
'clergy were dressing in "checkerboard squares of red and green with linings in silk hoods"'.
In France, Kathelot the Hatter was given pearls to decorate 3 hoods for fools in c.1351,
as fools, 'Jean le fol' and another called 'Micton, fol de monseigneur le Dauphin',
seemed to be "exempt from rules of clothing at court and wore garments of Noble or
Royal status indicating they were treated in a very privileged way not typical of the distinctive
costume belonging to a fools profession".
Hoods were not only worn for a fashion statement with embellishment nor for practicality or to keep
the weather off you but worn as part of a livery of a household with heraldic colours of the
Lord with Heraldic device notifying everyone that they had that Lords protection.
Hoods and Tabards also made it easy to identify which Scholastic college students belonged
to in Cambridge and Oxford when they rioted with each other or town folk, as they
were a form of uniform. Hooded teenage apprentice boys of London were considered the worst
offenders and were the "scourge of the capital" in the C12th-C14th. An assault case in C14th
state London youths dropped rocks into the liripipe and used it as a flail like
weapon in street fights. Apparently this practice was not entirely uncommon, so
hoodies of today are nothing new.
In the city of Bristol it was decreed that prostitutes were to wear a hood of striped cloth,
bearing red and in a c.1354 act of parliament given at Westminster
"no common whore should wear any hood except rayed or striped with divers colours,
nor should they wear furs, and their garment to be reversed to the wrong side
outwards to set a deformed mark upon the foulness to make it appear more so".
The sumptuary laws re-established these acts in 1382 and1437, when it was stipulated
that the prostitute's hood should be red. In France in the C15th
Prostitutes wore hoods with a very long peak.
By Richard II's reign the Hood was continued to be very much worn and
fashionable for all levels of medieval society and continued so in various forms either soft,
wired or caned, attached to cloaks right up to our present day coats.
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